October 27, 2013
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext 247
Oregon State Police (OSP) is continuing the investigation into a Saturday afternoon fatal traffic crash that resulted in the death of a Riddle-area man who was struck while attempting to change a flat tire along the shoulder of Interstate 5 about two miles north of Canyonville.
According to Sergeant Matt Bowersox, preliminary investigation indicates on October 26, 2013 at approximately 4:30 p.m., WES ROY WOODS, age 43, from Riddle, stopped his passenger car on the right northbound shoulder of Interstate 5 near milepost 102 due to a flat tire on the left side of the vehicle. The passenger car was stopped about 3 feet from the fog line where WOODS knelt down to change the tire with his feet positioned on the fog line. Additional pavement and gravel shoulder was available to the right of the stopped passenger car that would have allowed for a safer buffer zone away from the freeway traffic lanes.
A commercial truck pulling a semi-trailer driven by GURMAIL S. DHILLON, age 31, from Surry, British Columbia, was northbound in the right lane following another commercial truck and trailer as the first truck passed by the disabled vehicle which had its emergency flashers activated where WOODS was knelt down next to. When DHILLON saw the man knelt down by the stopped car, he braked and tried moving quickly to the left lane. The truck passed the car but the right rear tires of the semi-trailer traveled over the fog line and ran over WOODS' lower legs.
Two female passengers in the car, family friends ages 20 and 19, tended to WOODS until relieved by emergency responders. WOODS was transported by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg where he passed away from injuries about an hour after he was struck.
DHILLON stopped and remained at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation.
OSP was assisted at the scene by Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Canyonville Fire Department, and ODOT.
Important things to remember when dealing with a flat tire on a highway include:
* Don't stop in traffic.
* Get your vehicle completely away from the roadway before attempting to change a tire.
* Change a tire along the side of a highway only if you can do so without placing yourself in danger. If you know how to change a tire, have the equipment, and can do it safely without being near traffic, change the tire as you normally would but keep in mind it may be best to get professional help if you have a tire problem or other breakdown while traveling.
* Turn your emergency flashers on and, if available, place reflective triangles or a flare behind your vehicle.
* It's important to have the car well off the pavement and away from traffic before stopping, even if you need to proceed at a slow speed to a safer location such as a nearby exit or wide area along the shoulder.
* If you can't safely change your tire or need help for a mechanical breakdown on an interstate freeway or state highway, call for roadside assistance response or contact an OSP dispatch center.
### www.oregon.gov/OSP ###